What causes a child to take the wrong path in life? Back in the fifties, sixties, and early seventies, a child was labeled out of control, a misfit or mentally ill. The experts never once thought that there were two sides to these stories. They believed what the parents were saying about the child was true, until it was too late. The child grew up to be damaged for life.
This is one of those stories. There is a link to these stories that I keep writing about. If I can see it, why haven't the so called experts seen it? Or is it that they do and they just don't care? This is story #7 of the "Three Strikes Law".
A child looks to his/her parents for wisdom until he/she turns eighteen. Even after eighteen, you know as a parent they will still need your help. You as the parent, he/she is your child and you love them right? As a parent we somehow never see our children as grown. Being a parent is a thankless job. But some parents, I still don't understand why they even had children? The child became a burden to them. The child got in the way of their lives. As the child was trying to grow up, he/she became a burden to their own parents. Is this a cruel statement? I will let you be the judge.
J.B. was only nine when his father came home to find his mother in bed with his uncle. As his parents separated, he and his younger brother were bounced back and forth from parent to parent. His father told him that his mother did not love him anymore, and his mother would say the same thing about his father when J.B. would visit her. When staying with his mother, J.B. and his brother would not have enough food to eat in the house.He had to call his father just to bring food into the house of his mother. His father, not saying anything to him, would just drop off the food at his mother's house and leave. J.B. did not know at this time his father was making other plans for his own life. J.B. was a child torn between two parents who did not care for anyone but themselves. J. B. finally went to live with his father. He would wait on the porch on the weekends for his mother to pick him up. Until evening broke, J.B. would just sit there. Instead of his father comforting him, his father would come out to the porch and say to him, "she is not coming; she does not care about you guys".
This would begin the void in this child's life. A feeling that no one saw or felt, because they were to busy trying to go on with their lives.
J.B. was left with nothing. He had only a so called roof over his head. No love, no support, no one to hear or see what he was feeling. By the time he was twelve, J.B. started smoking pot and taking acid. It was his way of escaping a home with no love in it. He had not heard from his mother for a year. No cards at Christmas or phone calls from her. Then his mother remarried. His father called his mother and wanted J.B. to stay with her. J.B. over heard the conversation on the phone. His mother said; "I don't want him coming here to live with me". Neverless, she had a change of heart when she knew that his father would be paying child support. It's funny how money can change a person's mind. She did not see J.B. as her son, she saw him as a check now.
At the age of thirteen, J.B. went to live with his mother. The fact that his mother had remarried, J.B. was nothing but a step child to her husband.
Let's look at the word "step child". For children still today in the homes of step parents, many of the children feel like this. They feel second rate, looked over, in the way of the new family, another mouth to feed. He's not mine; why should I care? You take care of him, he's yours not mine. We have enough problems.
So the child becomes a burden. For the biological parent, they feel trapped between their own child and new spouse. To find a way out the parent starts calling the Department of Social Services stating that the child has become out of control. What a good excuse to get rid of the child that was interfering with the parent's new life.
Instead of the Department of Social Services doing an investigation into the whole matter, J.B. was sent to foster homes, again the cycle of a child's life gone. The child was always the one at fault back in that era. The child was seen by the state as a pay check also. They never had a voice back then. While in Juvenile Hall, the state was collecting child support from his father. Instead of the state giving J.B. counseling to see if they could help him, he fell through the cracks of time and the state discarded him like an old shoe when he was of age.
It is sad, even to this day our Governor of California just vetoed a bill that would get the children of California in Juvenile Hall the emotional and mental help that they need. So I ask, what are the children suppose to do? You would think that after seeing this pattern, someone would have done something by now.It has been thirty years since this has been going on. There are many cases reported just like this one. Take a good look at the filled prisons now.
J.B. was freed from the foster homes, and got kicked out into the streets of society. No help or counseling. He had become a misfit of our society. At the age of seventeen he went to prison for armed robbery. After doing ten months for that crime, he came out only to live in cars and tents. No one cared because he was officially a prison number now. He made his way back to the Midwest were he stayed out of trouble until the age of twenty-one. But the cycle continued for J.B., he went back to prison for three more years for beating up a female. She claimed at first he raped her, then changed the story to he didn’t. Then changed it back to he did. He pleaded to the charge only to get out of the conditions of the jail that he was in. That was a terrible mistake that J.B. made.
He got out once again, moved back here to California. He tried hard to stay out of trouble, he got a job. Only to find out that his boss was sleeping with his girl friend. J.B. broke up with her. But in an acting of revenge, J.B. broke into his bosses store, stole TV's, stereos and a truck. Yes; this was stupid. This cost J.B. his life. A crime that carries sixteen months to three years, J.B. got thirty years and four month under the "Three Strikes law".
J.B. has done eleven years of his time. He has gone through five years of therapy, and ten hours a week of self help groups. But something is wrong with this picture? It took him to have his third strike for someone in the system to get him the help he should have gotten as a child. A child embraces love and hope, not bars.
J.B. has stated to me that he does not blame his parents and I respect him for that statement.
But the cries of an inner child will never be heard again. The cries are still sitting on his father's porch waiting for a mother's love that never came. There is a thin line between love and hate for the many children who grew up in the era mentioned above. Hate became a norm more then love did.
Prison is a world of its own. We on the outside world cannot phantom what goes on beyond the prison gates. It is run by the inmates and guards. There are no cameras aloud, no interviews. While doing time in the Hole, you are aloud to go outside for an hour and go to the bathroom not on a toilet, but a hole in the ground. There is rape, mayhem, and even murder beyond those gates. You have to beg to get the help that you need.
There are more then 172,000 inmates that are locked up in the state of California. Calculate that, by more then $30,000 a year for each inmate. And we wonder why California is in so much debt. We cut health care, education, programs for the youth because prisons are the money makers of California. How much farther will we go?
Let's take the bear off the California flag and put prison bars on it. Many of these men and woman doing the time should be out by now. Yes; they have committed crimes, but to just lock them up and hope they will die or just go away in the cracks of time is wrong. If we give them the help that they need "Starting" when they were children just maybe they would not be an adult now doing time.
Has J.B. served his time? He will be in his sixties before he sees day light. In the meantime, we the tax payers are going to pay his bill as he ages?
Yet we want to build more prisons. The thing that boils my blood is the fact we let the sex offenders go free?
We steal from every program out there just to keep the prison's going.The mentally ill go to prison because we have shut down the hospitals that are suppose to treat them.
We argue on how to fix the problem, and yet we wonder why children are killing children. We have taken every program from them. The power game needs to stop now. These were supposed to be the children of now that are locked up in our prisons. The misfits of an era that was forgotten by society and by parents who did not care back then.
God help the future children of today. What are we giving them now? More debt, no hope and always pointing fingers at them, "saying it's their fault."
Our politicians boast about how the three strikes law is working. It has been more then ten years since the law went into effect. I would like to know what planet that these politicians are living on? It has been proving that the three strikes law has only put California into billions of dollars of debt. We rather get rid of the poor and misfits, instead having a rehabilitation program that would work. Medical care, in the prisons is at a crisis level.
Hey! But who cares!
Do you know where your child is tonight? Another child molester just got out of jail because the experts said they have an illness and with treatment they can be cured.
As for J.B., he was a misfit as a child. And now you will pay for his care for another nineteen years or more. We need to stop this now.